David is going back to college. There. I've said it.
Two days before Michael's chest pains, which sent us to the pediatrician ... which was the start of discovering Michael's pneumonia, David was fired from his job. It came as quite a shock. Essentially, he had processed someone's request for prescription assistance that should not have gone through, due to a few technicalities. I personally believe that lives were preserved as a result of what David had done, but someone else didn't see it that way. After he was let go from his job, we all prayed for the people who would not be getting some much needed medicine. I hope they are still alive. And that's all I'll say about the reason why David got fired. Anyway, as a result of the whys, we have not been able to get "unemployment." David had built up a 401K over the years, and we've been living off of that. Prior to his change in employment status, he had begun looking for a new job. Something closer to home, but within the same pay range. Nothing was available, unless he was willing to take a major pay cut. Then without much warning, the bottom dropped out.
Because of Michael's bout with pneumonia, and the hospital stay that ensued, we didn't really deal with David's job situation right away. Besides, as David awaited his own surgery, he was in a lot of pain physically. It took until weeks after his surgery for the pain to begin to subside. Thankfully, the cyst the doctor removed turned out to be benign. In the midst of all these medical expenses, it was chaotic concerning our COBRA benefits kicking in. Let me back up a bit. The very next day after David was fired, he contacted the company's benefits coordinator to ensure they were well aware we planned to pay for COBRA, that we needed to continue our medical insurance. He inquired about the costs and how to sign up and everything. The person he spoke to was very helpful and courteous. They gave him the requested info, and helped again later when some paperwork was delayed in coming. Our coverage that "ended" January 31, wasn't really over. All our bills had to be paid retroactively, back to February 1 after all the paperwork was sent, responded to, paid, etc. Like I said, it was a little chaotic. We are currently paid up through the end of June for COBRA. It has cost us about $6400.00. Worried about other bills too, we have paid all our utilities and car insurance through the end of July. I've lived without utilities before, and it is not pleasant.
Anyway, while Michael was in the hospital, David came to realize he was going to need to go into a new career field. He didn't say anything to me about it until after his surgery had been done and my mother had gone back home from her coming to help us out during and after Michael's hospital stay. (BTW, David's ability to stay with Michael during his hospital stay - not having to go into work each day - was a blessing in disguise. We were worried to leave him there all by himself at any time, so having David there all the time allowed for me to drive home quick and collect clean clothes or whatever we found any of us needed from home, including all of Michael's toys, "the guys.") Ironically, what David is planning to go into, I jokingly suggested one day while we were sitting in Michael's hospital room. David brushed it off, but later told me that was exactly what he was feeling drawn to for a new career. Here's a clue.
After telling me what his plans were, he began in earnest looking into colleges accredited to give him the training he would need to qualify for the job. One was an online school which wanted far too much money for their degree program. The other option was our local community college. The more he researched it, the better the local college looked. He would get discounts as an in-state student, and even more so for living in the area, and not having travelled in from outside the area. There are a few prerequisites he has to fulfill, due to the specific nature of the degree program, and due to the fact that he hasn't been in any chemistry classes in over 10 years. He is hopeful that some of the typical classes can be waived, and rightfully so, since the college's dean told him he may be able to apply previous college credits to some of the needed classes, ones that he's already taken. He has 2 Master's Degrees in other fields, in addition to a Bachelor's Degree. He was doing some post-grad work when we met, but left it before finishing.
He has already applied to the community college and signed up for the summer session classes. He'll be doing a maximum of 4 classes on 2 different campuses this summer. The one he is really hoping can be skipped is an evening class, about 4 hours per class. The days of his classes are Monday to Thursday, but at different times. Once everything is set for school and books are purchased, he will be prepared to look for some sort of part time job, even if it's only retail for now. They will have to offer flexible hours, that we know. Plus we know it's not forever, just for 2 years. His classes will be pretty much continuous beginning in about a month from now. There are classes he'll need to take over next summer too. The classes he would need to take this fall semester happen to be on the same days of the week still. This is good for us. Since I was able to increase my hours at the studio to work every Friday, open to close, and have income from it, I have asked for that. My boss has graciously granted my request. I will homeschool Michael Monday through Thursday, and Saturday after congregation. I will go to the studio on each Friday and Sunday, both days working open to close. David will be here with Michael on Fridays, and if I'm guessing correctly, the playtime he normally would have on Saturday will easily transfer to Friday.
Some might question why we just don't put Michael into public school, and have me work full time. First, we have one car. How could I get to work if David had taken the car to school? Second, besides having deep religious convictions about not sending our son to public school, even if we sent him to a private Christian school, who would be here when he got home from school? It just doesn't add up. Besides, without my having a college degree myself, my best hope to bring in big, fat paychecks would involve going out of the area if necessary (probably so), and working in other studios to get full time hours. That definitely requires my own car, and long hours. Michael could be sitting at home, all by himself, until nightfall. It just won't work.
Anyway, David's new career will require testing that can be administered at the college, after the program is completed. One level of the career requires additional testing, but this program prepares the graduate for either level of certification, or whatever you call it. David had researched the entry level income brackets, and suffice it to say, locally, the lowest end is about where he left off with his former employer, where getting a raise was very difficult. David thinks that he had gone as far as he could with that job, concerning raises, so something had to give. Just in case you still haven't figured it out, he's going to be a Respiratory Therapist.
Oh, one more thought. David has already applied for financial aid. For this summer session, it looks like we are on our own, but for the fall semester and forward, perhaps we'll get some help. I wished I could have gone to college myself, back when I was nearing the end of high school. It seemed every idea I came up with would not work out for one reason or another. I had dreamed of being a pediatrician, or a teacher. A few years out of high school, I wanted to go into nursing, but I had no money for that either. I thought about financial aid, but was told by several people I'd never qualify due to income levels of my relatives. At this point, I'd be thrilled to attend a school of photography. It's right up my alley. Maybe after David starts working as a Respiratory Therapist, we can afford to send me to college ... after Michael's tuition is paid, of course. (David said the income bracket around here, after you are in the field a while, is very good.)
Please excuse any typos. It's late, and I worked over 9 hours today.